Will Plastic Bag Bans in Canada Grow Beyond Montreal?
Which Canadian City Will Be Next to Pass a Ban?
When the plastic bag ban movement takes root it slowly spreads and gains momentum. This is what happened in California and it is currently happening in Massachusetts. At the start of the year, the Montreal plastic bag ban went into action and this has many people wondering if plastic bag bans are about to sweep through Canada.
Appeal of Plastic Bag Bans
What draws many people to support plastic bag bans is the reduction in the use of single-use plastic bags. Plastic bags are made from non-renewable resources, such as natural gas and oil. As nonrenewable resources there is only so much of these materials available. Using these resources for disposable bags that are typically used once and thrown away is wasteful.
The amount of nonrenewable resources available is enough to continue to produce disposable plastic bags for many years with no concern of running out of materials. That does not excuse the wasteful nature of utilizing materials in a limited supply for disposable items.
Impact on Waste Management System
“Between nine and 15 million bags are used in Canada every year,” Joanne Fedyk, Executive Director of Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council said.
When it comes to disposing of single-use plastic bags consumers have two options. Neither one of those options is really ideal or effective.
Disposable plastic bags can be recycled and transformed into new plastic items. In theory this is a great solution, because the material can be used and recycled over and over again. In practice recycling single-use plastic bags is not very effective.
Most recycling facilities do not accept thin plastic bags. The thin plastic is a nuisance and routinely will become stuck in the processing machinery, essentially shutting down the operation. The hassle is just not worth it for many processors. Saskatoon is the only major Canadian city in the providence of Saskatchewan to accept disposable plastic bags as part of its recycling program.
With recycling proven ineffective the other common alternative to dealing with single-use plastic bags is tossing them in the trash. Disposable plastic bags do not belong on the trash because they will either be taken to a landfill or incinerated. When single-use plastic bags are thrown away it is the end of the line for the non-renewable resources. These materials will not be repurposed into something useful.
To make matters worse, single-use plastic bags are non-biodegradable, which means they do not break down. When disposable plastic bags end up in a landfill that’s it. They take up space, enter our groundwater system and food chain. While one plastic bag takes up minimal space, the 15 million bags used in Canada annually is a different environmental story.
Plastic Bag Bans Offer a Solution
Plastic bag bans help eliminates the plastic problem. Without single-use bags, shoppers will switch to carrying reusable shopping bags. Reusable bags offer all of the benefits of single-use bags without any of the ill effects. Several Canadian cities have discussed the plastic bag problem and considered various solutions, such as plastic bag bans. Many smaller cities have made the leap, but Montreal was the first major city to pass a ban.
Many curious eyes will probably be on Montreal over the next several months, and maybe even years, to see how their ban progresses. If all goes well it is very likely other cities will follow Montreal’s lead. Check out our plastic bag ban map to learn more about the bag ban movement.
Green Marketing Solution
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